From 28 May to 1 June in Sorrento, Italy, CNES and ESA are organizing the Small Satellites, Systems and Services Symposium, an event held every two years. This symposium brings together more than 400 attendees from space agencies, industry and academia active in the sectors of cubesats and start-up development.
The theme for this year’s event is ‘Beyond Boundaries’, addressing new missions being accomplished with small satellites to explore the solar system and push the boundaries of our knowledge and reach new frontiers previously thought unattainable.
The symposium opened with speeches from Roberto Battiston, President of the Italian space agency ASI, and Marie-Anne Clair, CNES’s Director of Orbital Systems, who underlined the agency’s longstanding interest in small satellites enabling innovative operational and demonstration missions, the most notable recent developments being the series of missions built around its Myriade spacecraft bus and the ANGELS nanosat. In all, 20 satellites have been built around Myriade, by CNES and by industry, for a broad range of missions. The latest now in development is the MicroCarb climate-monitoring satellite set for launch in 2021 to gain new insights into concentrations of carbon gases in Earth’s atmosphere. ANGELS, meanwhile, is seeking to demonstrate in orbit a new miniaturized version of the Argos instrument operated by CLS and to establish an industrial nanosatellite product line in France operated by NEXEYA.
Several preliminary projects based on small satellites or nanosatellites are underway at CNES for scientific, Earth-observation and meteorology missions, as well as for constellations designed to support telecommunications and the Internet of Things (IoT). The agency launched the Microscope satellite built around its Myriade bus in 2016 to test the principle of the universality of free fall for the first time in space. The first very promising results from this mission were presented at the end of last year.